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Environment & Science

California Drought News: Nosy about groundwater drilling, and nudging your neighbor to save



A 1962 Thousand Oaks survey picture of H.L. Hall Water Well and Test Hole Drilling, and Aitken and Kidder Water Development, by Pat Allen. Water well drilling goes back a century in California, but records are scarce for public viewing.
A 1962 Thousand Oaks survey picture of H.L. Hall Water Well and Test Hole Drilling, and Aitken and Kidder Water Development, by Pat Allen. Water well drilling goes back a century in California, but records are scarce for public viewing.

Monday's news is nosy about your neighbor — and your neighbors' groundwater drilling.

In all other Western states, such records are accessible to whomever wants to see them – from university professors to civil engineers, real estate agents to the media. But in California, well logs are barred from public inspection by a 63-year-old law written to keep data gathered by well-drilling companies from falling into the hands of competitors. “The lack of information about well logs makes no sense, particularly as we are trying hard to manage a diminishing public trust resource,” said Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank in San Francisco. “This is another one of those anachronistic statutes that does not belong in a modern water management system,” Mount said. (Sacramento Bee)
One out of every four households has a leak of some sort, usually something as simple as a loose toilet flapper, [water district spokeswoman] Figueroa said. "Leaks are common," she added. "Don't be embarrassed." (SJ Mercury News)
Most homes in Southern California have already been outfitted with efficient shower heads, toilets and garden hoses, making it harder for residents to significantly reduce their water consumption than it was during the last severe drought a quarter-century ago. (NYT)

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